Gaming Commission: Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts divorced

Gaming Commission: Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts divorced

Steve Wynn no ‘ordinary citizen,’ but relationship terminated

WYNN RESORTS CLEARED an initial hurdle on Monday in seeking to hang on to its casino license in Massachusetts, securing confirmation from the state Gaming Commission that Steve Wynn no longer plays any role in running the company named after him.

The decision was expected, since Steve Wynn, after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him earlier this year, left the company and sold all of his stock. The ruling doesn’t mean the Wynn Resorts license for its $2.5 billion hotel/casino facility in Everett is secure, however, since the Gaming Commission continues to investigate whether other company officials and directors may have abetted Steve Wynn’s behavior and whether the former CEO’s absence may negatively impact the firm’s future.

The decision noted that Steve Wynn has continued to talk with a number of Wynn Resorts officials, including two to whom he has close ties — Matt Maddox, the current CEO, and Kim Sinatra, the company’s legal counsel. But the commission said those contacts appear to be part of an effort to disentangle Steve Wynn from the company and nothing else.

A footnote was attached to the decision quoting an earlier statement from Maddox in which he said “there is no association with Steve Wynn. There is no business association with Steve Wynn. I’m my own man. And Kim Sinatra is her own woman.”

Company officials have been asked to notify a Wynn Resorts official within 48 hours of any contact with Steve Wynn. That official, in turn, is required to pass the information along to the Gaming Commission. The commission noted that Steve Wynn’s last name remains the name of the company, but he receives no royalty or other payments associated with the arrangement.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“Based on the evidence presented, Wynn Resorts has worked quickly to separate itself from Mr. Wynn, including emblematically changing the name of the Everett property to Encore Boston Harbor,” the decision said. “The commission rejects the characterization by Mr. Wynn’s legal counsel that he is nothing more than an ordinary private citizen of the state of Nevada vis-à-vis Wynn Resorts. There is, however, substantial evidence that the relationship between Mr. Wynn and Wynn Resorts has been terminated in a meaningful way such that Mr. Wynn no longer falls within the definition of qualifier at the conclusion of the upcoming annual shareholders meeting.”

The term qualifier is what the Gaming Commission uses to refer to individuals at gaming companies who must pass suitability standards in order to hold a position at the company.  The mention of the annual shareholders meeting is a reference to the fact that Steve Wynn retains the voting power associated with his shares at the upcoming shareholders meeting because he owned them as of the cutoff date for determining who is eligible to vote; Wynn’s attorney has said his client has no intention of voting his shares at the meeting.